NEW: Hosni Mubarak's lawyer defends his dictator client in his opening statement
He says there is no evidence against Mubarak
Mubarak stands accused in the deaths of hundreds of protesters
The former Egyptian president denies the charges against him
Civil rights lawyers Tuesday joined prosecutors’ calls for a death sentence for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Fareed El Deeb rebutted the accusations against Mubarak of corruption and of ordering the deaths of protesters in the uprising that eventually led to the longtime leader’s ouster.
El Deeb said Mubarak was neither an aggressor nor bloodthirsty. Prosecutors, he said, were appealing to public emotions, not making a legal case.
EL Deeb is depending on the testimony of Omar Suleiman, the former vice president and head of the Egyptian intelligence who had told the court that Mubarak and Habib El Adly, the former interior minister, did not give orders to kill protesters.
Along with Mubarak and El Adly, Mubarak’s two sons and four aides are also on trial.
Prosecutors and civil rights lawyers have called for Mubarak to be put to death, but El Deeb remains confident that Mubarak will be cleared of all charges.
“There is not a shred of evidence against my client but forged information and hearsay. And I intend to counter every lie brought against him from lawyers who want nothing but fame,” El Deeb said.
The trial will conclude on February 16 and the judge is then expected to set a date for the verdict.
Last week, attorney Sameh Ashour, who represents some of the victims’ families, said at the trial that “160 police officers fired 4,800 live bullets from machine guns during the revolution. Ambulances were used to transport weapons to the officers on the ground, which indicates there was intention from the start to fire at protesters.”
Earlier this year, the Russian foreign ministry issued a statement expressing its “deep concern” over the prosecution’s request for a Mubarak death sentence and called on Egypt to consider his old age and poor health.
Mubarak, 83, has been wheeled into the courtroom every day on a stretcher. Germany and France also issued statements of “concern.”
Lawyers familiar with the case said it is unlikely Mubarak and his fellow defendants will receive the death penalty, in part because of the difficulty in proving the president ordered the killings.
Analysts agreed that while some Egyptians might welcome a death sentence for their former leader, particularly at a time of heightened tension as the January 25 anniversary of the uprising approaches, he is more likely to be sentenced to prison if found guilty.